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State officials push importance of properly securing vehicle loads

Aug 10, 2023Aug 10, 2023

PHOENIX — Secure your load. It's the safety message that state and transportation officials have been trying to get across to drivers all across Arizona in an effort to prevent crashes and injuries.

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs has declared June 6 as "Arizona Secure Your Load Day" to bring awareness of the importance of properly securing items in your vehicle.

"Swimming pool slides, refrigerators, toilets, furniture — (Arizona Department of Transportation) crews have removed incredible things from freeway lanes," Arizona Department of Transportation State Engineer and Deputy Director for Transportation Greg Byres said in a press release. "Items that tumble onto freeways can severely damage vehicles that are moving at freeway speeds and can be deadly for the people in those vehicles."

According to a press release, more than 800 debris-related crashes occurred in the Maricopa County region. A number of those crashes have resulted in serious damage and even death.

The Maricopa Association of Government provided the following crash data:

According to Don't Trash Arizona, Arizona law states, "A person shall not drive or move a vehicle on a highway unless the vehicle is constructed or loaded in a manner to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping from the vehicle." (A.R.S. 28-1098.A).

Here are some tips from Don't Trash Arizona for how to best secure your load and load your vehicle:

TIE IT DOWNLarge or heavy items should be firmly secured with solid straps, rope, bungee cords, or netting. Tie large items directly to your vehicle. Tied down materials must be able to withstand wind up to 70 miles per hour on the highway. At that speed, the wind is providing about a 20-pound-per-square-foot push, which can dislodge those loads and push them off your vehicle. Do not use restraints if they are frayed, cut, or damaged. Tie large objects directly to your vehicle or trailer.

COVER IT UPFor loose, lighter items such as tree clippings, a sturdy plastic or canvas tarp or netting can be used to keep items in place. Tie the tarp securely or it might become road debris as well.

LIGHTER GOES LOWERPut lighter-weight things at the bottom of the load and make sure they are secure. Evenly distribute the load to prevent it from sliding.

DO NOT OVERLOADKeep material level with truck bed or trailer unless tied down, netted or under a tarp.

DOUBLE-CHECKDouble-check your load to make sure it is secure at the back and on the sides and top. Remember that loads can move and settle during a journey, allowing restraints to loosen. If possible, recheck restraints shortly after beginning your trip.

MAKE SURE IT'S ROADWORTHYEnsure both the vehicle and trailer are in good mechanical condition and roadworthy. Check that your vehicle is rated to tow the load. Remember that your load will make your vehicle less maneuverable and it will take longer to stop.

ASK YOURSELFIs there any chance of debris falling or blowing out of my vehicle? Would I feel safe if I were driving behind my vehicle? What would happen to my load if I had to brake suddenly or if I hit a bump?


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